On Sydney’s Northern Beaches During the Time of COVID

Exploring the Landscape Through Abstract Art

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Five abstract artists working on Sydney’s Northern Beaches reveal a colourful oeuvre that responds directly to site and place. For each of the artists, the famous stretch of coastline north of the city, dominated by suburbia, the Aussie ‘bush’, and the vast ocean, is intrinsically connected to their psyche—made even more relevant by the outbreak of COVID-19. Feature by Emma-Kate Wilson

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Collective, City Observatory 38 Calton Hill Edinburgh EH7 5AA

Holly McLean: If you get the knees right the rest should follow

Holly McLean, If you get the knees right the rest should follow (still), 2020. Courtesy the artist

A woman stands by her car, removing her wetsuit from the open boot. She stretches it over her body like a small ritual, while she jokes with the person holding the camera. As she pulls up the wetsuit from her ankles, she laughs: “If you get the knees right, the rest should follow.” So forms the title of Holly McLean’s film from 2020, which opens with fellow artist Alice Vandeleur-Boorer getting ready to surf. Wetsuit donned, she runs into the water. Alice bobs over the waves, riding across and surrendering to them, her body flopping majestically into the foam. Review by Eva Szwarc

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PM/AM, 50 Golborne Road, London W10 5PR

06

‘06’ is a both an online and physical exhibition, envisioned by the gallery PM/AM, as “a collective status check, a unique opportunity for self-assessment” that came together after the gallery set up a discussion between several artists, offering a form of exchange to collectively examine how the pandemic was impacting their daily lives. But rather than positioning the exhibition as a response to Covid-19, the discussions became a mediation on this new collective moment of re-evaluation.

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Bosse & Baum, Studio BGC&D, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Ln, London SE15 4ST

Miriam Austin: Andesite

Bradoon (For Alset)

In her show ‘Andesite’ at Bosse & Baum (her third with the gallery), Miriam Austin grapples with both her coloniser ancestry and her desire to expose and challenge the damage wreaked on the landscape by colonial extractivist systems. Born out of an extensive body of research and experimentation, this exhibition imaginatively inhabits both the mythical subterranean realm of Selvaga and the New Zealand landscapes ravished by colonial settlement. Review by Anna Souter

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HEISTart.com

HEIST

‘HEIST’ is one of a kind: a show about ‘stolen’ artworks presented in a hacker chatroom. The exhibition adopted the conventions of a face-to-face exhibition via a live browser-based chatroom, giving the audience the opportunity to mingle and chat with the artists. This sense of connectivity, of participation, was further conveyed by the disruption (through deletion and addition) of text as participants variously joined or left the virtual event. But then again, glitches are part of the game. Review by Dan Commons and Rina Arya

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Maureen Paley, 60 Three Colts Ln, London E2 6GQ

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Once Removed

Once Removed

Abu Hamdan’s film ‘Once Removed’ (2019) suggests the experience of transgenerational memory might be employed as a method of re-processing history and gathering together fragments of the obscured past through a more empathetic lens. Presented as a split screen video where the artist and his interviewee converse as silhouettes in front of two large projections, this work exists on multiple levels. Review by Gabriella Sonabend

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Tate Britain, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG

Chila Kumari Singh Burman: Tate Britain Winter Commission 2020

Chila Kumari Singh Burman: Winter Commission 2020

The statue of Britannia that sits atop Sidney Smith’s incomplete 1897 pediment of Tate Britain’s portico has been transformed by Chila Burman for the annual Winter Commission into an avatar of Kali, the voluptuous Indian god of death. Burman delivers some much needed jollity by converting the austere Imperial iconography of the Millbank frontage into a pantheon of her trademark warrior queens. Tate’s comparatively meagre sculptures of a lion and unicorn that flank Britannia are usurped by Burman’s neon figures of Lakshmi and Ganesh−the gods of plenitude and Diwali−who welcome us from the top of the stairs. Review by Piers Masterson

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NiCOLETTi Contemporary, 12A Vyner St, London E2 9DG

Tyler Eash: Loreum

Installation views NıCOLETTı, London

NiCOLETTi re-opened its doors to the public in early December, continuing its programme with ‘Loreum’, an exhibition by American artist Tyler Eash. Having completed an MFA at Goldsmiths, University of London last year, Eash now lives and works in Mexico. His practice encompasses film, painting, sculpture, writing and sound art as a means to disclose thoughts on having, and holding onto, an identity. These works are unapologetically jumbled, or topsy-turvy, as if badly downloaded from the internet, becoming more encrypted as they travel through digital space and enter into the physical world. Perhaps more plausibly, these works in painting, sculpture, film and photography are a figuring of things that Eash has encountered on the internet, in his mind’s eye and in daily life. Review by Olivia Fletcher

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Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1-3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW

Jewyo Rhii: Love Your Depot_LDN

Installation view, 2020 Artist of the Year: Jewyo Rhii (2020), Courtesy the artist and Korean Cultural Centre UK

The fact that Jewyo Rhii’s exhibition has only been intermittently open to the public due to COVID restrictions seems appropriate for the Korean born artist whose show focuses on the moment of transition between the private and public spaces of the gallery. The conundrum of transposing the meaning or value of an artwork from the private spaces where it is produced to the public arena of the gallery is a main theme of Jewyo Rhii’s work. For ‘Love Your Depot_LDN’, the artist has converted the Korean Cultural Centre’s white-walled space into a functional art store, complete with modular storage racks and packing crates that mimic the interstitial space in which her work can spend so much of its time. Review by Piers Masterson

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Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, 15 NE Hancock St, Portland, OR 97212, United States

Interview with Carlos Motta: We Got Each Other’s Back

Carlos Motta: We Got Each Other's Back, installation view

Three stage settings topped with multiple videos stretch across the expanse of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, featuring the autoethnographies of Heldáy de la Cruz, Julio Salgado, and Edna Vázquez, all in collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Carlos Motta. Motta generously and pointedly answered queries I prompted for this collective project and how it articulates personal counter-narratives through its form in addition to its relation to Motta’s previous works that query the socio-political conditions of marginalised communities, their enmeshed ethical stakes, and the deep affective bonds that they invoke. Interview with Laurel V. McLaughlin

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PUBLIC Gallery, 91 Middlesex St, Spitalfields, London E1 7DA

Interview with Cathrin Hoffmann: IT STILL SMELLS OF NOTHING

Cathrin Hoffmann, studio portrait, 2020. courtesy of the artist and PUBLIC Gallery

German artist, Cathrin Hoffmann, makes paintings of the contemporary individual; alienated, caught up in the temporary pleasures and quick fixes of our techno-capitalist reality. The paintings in her recent exhibition 'IT STILL SMELLS OF NOTHING' at Public Gallery in London are filled with such lonesome individuals, twisting and folding into themselves. Their exposed, blemished flesh is compartmentalised into exaggerated body parts, organised into various suggestive poses. Interview by Sonja Teszler

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David Kordansky Gallery, 5130 W Edgewood Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90019, United States

Adam Pendleton: Begin Again

Adam Pendleton, Begin Again, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, November 7-December 19, 2020, Installation view

Adam Pendleton is a New York-based artist whose current exhibition, ‘Begin Again’, is showing at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles, California. Pendleton’s work is significant because it highlights the politics surrounding race and identity, but also demonstrates the chaotic nature of the artistic mediums he uses. Pendleton works with a thick application of paint on canvas, a polyester film called ‘mylar’, and video. His various methods of representing words through mediums allow viewers to separate themselves from any preconceived meanings of language. Pendleton’s work is a representation of the intersections that connect art to the political and social interpretations that text can present. Review by Sheena Carrington

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